INSIGHTS Dr. Joseph Allen’s ‘Dr. Eye Health’ Focuses on Teaching the Sciences of Eyecare By Stephanie Sengwe Monday, February 11, 2019 12:45 AM Doctor Eye Health is a 6-month-old educational YouTube Channel geared toward anyone who is interested in knowing more about the eyes, disease and vision products. Its creator, Joseph Allen, OD, is a graduate of the Rosenberg School of Optometry who did his residency in ocular disease and vision rehabilitation at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. Though he has been working on Doctor Eye Health since January of last year, his first video didn’t launch until July 2018 due to the amount of research he wanted to conduct prior. “I have always been a visual person. I grew up watching a lot of movies and playing video games,” Allen told Vision Monday. “I was even in the A/V club in high school, so I guess I have always been interested in making videos. I first got the idea because of how many patients came in telling me they already looked up everything online and sadly most people are way off when they do that. Unfortunately, most video content online about the eyes is either incorrect or boring to watch.” In an effort to give people content that is factual and easily understandable, Allen created Doctor Eye Health which serves as a visual resource that helps patients narrow their questions and gives them a better scope of their needs when they visit their eye doctor. Doctor Eye Health features videos such as, “Astigmatism Explained,” “Best Soft Contact Lenses in 2018—My Top 3 Daily Lenses,” and “3 Must Know Facts About Visual Floaters!” which all explain the topic in roughly 10 minutes. Because the channel is still so new, Allen is still experimenting and learning about the video production and editing processes, so he has been releasing videos between once a month to once per week. Most viewed videos thus far, are those that incorporate more action shots and/or pictures, he’s observed. “There are many factors that play into the success of videos on YouTube, more than just the interest in a subject. I will say that I watch my analytics pretty closely for view time and try to find where I lose my viewers,” he said. When it comes to selecting topics to cover, Dr. Allen turns to his day-to-day life as an associate doctor at the Buffalo Eye Clinic in Buffalo, Minn., for content. “I am very interested in ocular disease, mainly anterior segment and posterior segment. So I have a focus to post more on dry eye, eye infections and retinal disease. But I also am passionate about contact lenses and glasses, so I hope to showcase more premium products in the future as well,” he said. Because there are a lot of products on the market, Dr. Allen makes sure to review and showcase products that he has used himself. “I only review products that I have tried personally or have had success with in the clinic,” he explained. “There are a lot of eyewear and vision products on the market and I think it’s important to showcase the best products and explain why they are superior. I have just started to get requests from companies to have me review their products, which is exciting.” Though companies have started contacting him, educating viewers remains the main priority for Allen. “I will never hard sell a product on the channel because that’s not what the brand is about. I want the channel to have integrity in providing myself as a resource to my viewers while adding value to the products that I use and love,” he said. Since its inception in July, Doctor Eye Health has garnered over 9,000 subscribers and Allen has learned that budgeting his time is paramount in order to balance his time between being a practitioner and managing the channel. “There is just never enough time in the day. I work full time and have a 35-minute commute. But I budget my time and make an effort to reply to people’s questions and to post on a consistent basis. If you try too hard you will burn yourself out. YouTube and social media is like a marathon, not a sprint.” Moving forward, Dr. Allen hopes that Dr. Eye Health becomes a premiere video source regarding eye health education. He has created an Instagram page of the same name to supplement his channel which allows him to share more personal posts. “I am in this for the long haul. People can expect the channel to grow with a large library of videos covering all types of eyecare related topics. The channel is about providing eye health education and reviewing the best vision products on the market. Knowing that more and more viewers start coming online every day and basically all generations are turning online for health resources, I expect the channel to build momentum,” he said.